Johnny Sexton passed fit to lead Ireland in Dunedin

Johnny Sexton will wear the No.10 jersey for Ireland against the All Blacks in the second Test after being passed fit despite confusion about whether he failed his head injury assessment during the first Test at Eden Park.

Johnny Sexton in action against the All Blacks at Eden Park.

Sexton left the field after taking a heavy knock after 30 minutes during the All Blacks’ 42-19 victory. After he didn't return it was assumed he failed his HIA test, but that was not explicitly confirmed by head coach Andy Farrell afterwards.

Farrell said Sexton, a key component of Ireland’s attack, had passed a post-match HIA on Saturday night and would likely pass another that evening.

Assistant coach Mike Catt on Tuesday confirmed Sexton would be available after passing his tests and training with the team at North Harbour Stadium.

World Rugby has recently cracked down on concussion cases, ordering those who show obvious symptoms on the field to undergo a compulsory 12-day stand-down.

Sexton suffered the injury when colliding heavily with All Blacks skipper Sam Cane’s knee in a tackle.

Asked to clarify the "confusion" around Sexton’s concussion status, Catt replied: "No, that’s not really my – I don’t work for World Rugby, unfortunately. Johnny is fit, Johnny passed every test that he needed to pass, so from my point of view he’s good to go."

The All Blacks assumed Sexton would get the all-clear, with Beauden Barrett on Monday saying it was imperative his side cut down on the Irishman's time and space after he pulled the strings well in the first quarter at Eden Park.

The confirmation of Sexton's status came after All Black Sam Whitelock was ruled out with delayed concussion symptoms from the first Test.

Ireland have already lost prop Jeremy Loughman to concussion, with Loughman showing obvious symptoms during Ireland’s match against the Māori All Blacks in Hamilton last week, but returning to the field after passing an HIA.

A New Zealand Rugby statement said Loughman should not have returned under World Rugby’s new protocols and that it was a mistake.

In Australia, England flanker Tom Curry has travelled home after suffering from concussion in his team's first-Test defeat against the Wallabies in Perth.

Looking ahead to the second Test in Dunedin, Catt said Whitelock’s absence for the All Blacks was a "big blow".

"Sam has played some amazing games and is a brilliant rugby player but we’re under no illusions – the next person stepping in is not that far behind Sam," he said.

Catt, the former England fullback, and now Ireland’s attack coach, said the Irish had to be far more accurate against the All Blacks as they attempt to square the series.

Ireland scored three tries at Eden Park, but were held up over the try-line on several occasions and dropped the ball twice in the tackle while over the line.

"If we get the balance of our game right we can cause problems," Catt said. "We started off really well in the first half and the start of the second half as well, so when we get that momentum we are very dangerous."